Ideas to make it easier for my grandmother to get in my Mazda CX-5


My 94 year old grandma often rides in my car with me. The car doesn’t seem to sit very high off the ground to me but between that and the seats that are set back from the edge of the car a couple inches, my grandma has a great deal of trouble getting into my car. Any ideas for some modification I could make that would assist with her getting into my car? She’s fine getting out. Any ideas appreciated! Thanks!

Perhaps a small step stool that you could carry with you?

Tell her to get in using the exact reverse sequence she uses to get out.

They used to make a lazy susan for getting in and out of cars. You sit on it with both feet on the ground, then swivel into place. She can do the same thing but without the lazy susan. It can be made easier by getting some sort of leather like (vinyl) seat cover so the sitting surface is a little slicker.

A handrail would come in handy too but most built in ones are in the roof just above the door, so are hard to reach from the outside. A handrail in the door pillar would be nice but maybe impossible to install because of the seat belt. I don’t know if you can find the loop type strap that was prominent in 50’s and earlier era cars. It was a single point attachment at the top of the pillar and formed a loop about a foot long that hung down. You will see them at antique auto shows.

Somethings you can do without modification are to roll down the passenger side window and open the door. Then she backs up to the doorway, back to the seat and you partly close the door and hold it firmly while she uses the window ledge as a brace and sits down in the seat. Then she swings her feet into the car. Reverse the sequence for getting her out.

As insightfl said.

She needs to re-think the process of getting in…adapt to a new mindset of procedures.
My wife’s grandpa did just that.
Originally thinking that one had to put one foot in then sit on the seat then bring the other foot in.
– not any more –
He would turn sideways first.
Then sit the butt on the seat.
Then help his own legs into the footwell. ( later we would help his legs into the footwell ).

Almost an exact reverse of how he got out…and it worked just fine.
Different than before but still a working method.

My elderly dad likes to put a plastic garbage bag on the seat so that he can slide in and out easily. If there are air bags built into the seat, then do this at your own risk.

Here’s a wild thought if your grandmother has a driveway and some open storage space in her garage, although it would be a lot of work. Someone in the family could build a sturdy wooden bench with the seat part at the height of your car seat and the foot part at the height of your car floor. If you put that outside the passenger door up against the car seat, then she could sit down on the bench and slide over into the car seat from that position. The bench would probably be too big to take with you, but at least it would help at her house.

Have you checked if she’s eligible for any free transportation services provided by your county or state? I’d imagine they use vehicles that are more suited for seniors.

It’s nice of you to take your grandmother around like this, by the way.

I found a number of running board steps that might help.

My old mom has trouble with my car and being able to slide on the seat is of great help to her. The first time I had a Tyvek suit I laid over the seat cushion, last time I used an old nylon winter jacket, and that helped quite a bit also, slip and slide! The handle above the passenger door was also helpful. If you have a car with leather seats that is better for my mom.

"Perhaps a small step stool that you could carry with you? "


A friend of mine had major problems getting his elderly father in and out of his Explorer–despite having the optional running boards. When he began carrying a small step stool in the vehicle and made it a standard practice to use it for his father’s entry & exit, the problems disappeared.

Of course, you do have to help guide the elderly person so that he/she steps on the step stool correctly, so as to not cause injury.

if you use a step stool, don t trust an old milk crate, the plastic gets brittle after about 30 yrs…

This may not help, but I’ve often wondered if this HandyBar device is worth anything.

And I like the idea of getting something with low friction to cover the seat bottom to make sliding in and out easier.

Those air cooled VW Beetles were sort of difficult for the passenger to maneuver in and out off. To address this, VW engineered what I always thought was a nifty feature. They had a big handle right on the dashboard you could grab hold of. It was remarkably effective. Of course for those who hit their noggin on it during a fast stop, might not be as much appreciated.

Lots of good ideas here. My mom also has trouble climbing up into tall vehicles, and getting out of various low ones. I suspect OP’s grandmother is finding that she’s too weak to be climbing up to the seat. Reversing the process can give insights, but it often points out the role of gravity. It doesn’t take much strength to turn and step down. The step up is the killer.

Thank you all for these great ideas! I’m going to take a look and see which/which combination would work best! I really appreciate the suggestions!

My Grandmother used to back in plump down on the seat, and then swing her legs in. That was back in the 60’s though. A strap or handle in the roof seems to help as mentioned and I don’t know, one of the reasons we bought the car we did was to make it easier to transport folks getting up there in age.

A little melted butter and a shoe horn.

Older folks have trouble with both very low vehicles and very tall ones. A reasonably tall one would benefit from running boards to facilitate entry. A friend of my wife had knee replacements and prefers her Dodge minivan over a lower regular automobile. Her previous car was a Neon which she found hard to get into.

I didn’t know that changing vehicles was on the table. If so, a seat height of between 16 to 18" off the ground is ideal.

A good way to think up the means of adaptation is ;
Have the person talk you through their issues each step of the way.
Every time they reach a point of needing something, anything, have them say it out loud.
like ;
’‘right here , if I could just …’'
Then YOU put on your thinking cap and figure their adaptation…something they could do different or something you can build or buy to accomodate that need.

I have done that many times.
Sometimes YOU don’t think of that one little thing that makes a huge difference for that person till you both go through it step by step.
– My wife is blind in the right eye so depth perception is an issue.
In our new house there is the normal stairs to the second floor that has a hand rail.
When she said she had problems , I had no idea…untill, like I said, when SHE talks about each stage of the process.
The hand rail ended two feet from the top step.
Coming down from the upstairs would have required anyone to step down two steps at least before havein the hand rail to grab.
With poor depth perception she wanted a more secure beginning than just the wall BEFORE stepping down to the first step.
My fix for this turned out to be so simple I can’t believe the house wasn’t built that way the first time.
I went and bought a huge loooong hand rail and replaced it from top to bottom extending past the first step.
Now , as you near the top of the stairs, you can grab a hand rail end FIRST…then get your bearings as to the beginning of the first step…even in the dark ! ( which is another issue with just one eye )

A simple solution but not though of until the code compliant rail wasn’t good enough ( I put rails on both sides while I was at it. I heve to remove one to move furniture , but that’s a small price to pay for personal safety and ease. )

Yeah, I did that too. Our house had fully code compliant railings on the stairs but on just one side and they alternated from the right side to the left side as you made a turn on a landing. My wife fell on the steps so I ended up putting railings on both sides going upstairs and to the basement. Now if I could get her to use them all the time and put shoes on . . .